Originally created 01/01/00

Outback bowl will likely be a shootout

TAMPA, Fla. -- Drew Brees is trying to be diplomatic.

That or he doesn't want to give Georgia any bulletin board material about its defense.

"A defense like that, they're putting themselves into position to make big plays and give up big plays," Brees said. "It's the risk you take when you play that defense. You put yourself in a good position, but you also put the offense in a good position."

That's a nice way of saying today's Outback Bowl likely will be a shootout.

The Outback committee didn't exactly match up the 19th-ranked Boilermakers (7-4) and No. 21 Bulldogs (7-4) for their defenses. Not with quarterbacks like Brees and Georgia's Quincy Carter putting up gaudy numbers all year long at the helms of offenses that average more than 400 yards each a game.

Put those two against defenses that give up more than 360 yards a game, and it's not likely that either team's punter will see much action today.

"They have not seen a lot of the perimeter plays, like the option and the misdirection, that we run. They have not seen an athletic quarterback like we've got with Quincy Carter," said Georgia coach Jim Donnan.

Purdue has, however, seen the likes of Notre Dame's Jarious Jackson and Indiana's Antwaan Randle El, both option quarterbacks with potent arms.

Neither experience was very pretty. Jackson and the Irish burned Purdue for 395 yards, while Randle El threw for 329 yards against the Boilermakers.

"We've got to get guys one on one with them," said Georgia offensive tackle Jonas Jennings. "We've got to get it to our skill guys and let them do their thing. If we can do that, we'll be clicking."

That's a nice way of saying the Bulldogs think they can roll all over Purdue if they execute well. Of course, the Boilermakers haven't given Georgia much of a reason to fear their defense, ranking outside the top 50 among NCAA Division I-A schools in most defensive categories.

And in the run-happy Big Ten, Purdue ranked dead-last in the conference in pass defense.

"It's typical of every Saturday," said Purdue defensive tackle Dan Nugent. "Every Saturday we go out and try to earn respect."

Georgia's defense isn't much to brag about, either. The Bulldogs give up 278.1 yards a game through the air, worst in the Southeastern Conference, and their pass-efficiency defense ranked 66th in Division I-A.

Donnan even revamped his entire secondary late in the season. But after one promising game, the Bulldogs reverted back to their old ways, as Georgia Tech's Joe Hamilton threw for 341 yards and four touchdowns in the regular-season finale.

To make matters worse, Georgia's best pass rusher, freshman Charles Grant, is out with a torn knee ligament.

It's enough to make an offense start salivating. But Brees wasn't the only one being tactful Thursday.

"We're just going to have to go out there and play football, and they're not going to give us anything," said Purdue wide receiver Chris Daniels, who set school and Big Ten records with 109 catches this season. "We're just going to have to work hard for it."

Are you just being polite, Chris?

"No, no bulletin board material from me," he said with a smile.


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